US to slow Europe missile plan if Russia reviews Iran policy

February 16th, 2009 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Feb 16 (IANS) Washington has indicated that it is willing to slow plans to deploy a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe if Moscow agreed to join the West to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear programme, a media report said.

Senior Russian officials have insisted that contrary to US claims there is no evidence that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons programme. As a signatory to the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), Iran is legally allowed to master nuclear technology to produce electricity, MehrNews quoted a media report as saying.

“If we are able to work together to dissuade Iran from pursuing a nuclear…, we would be able to moderate the pace of development of missile defences in Europe,” the report quoted a senior US official as saying.

The US official’s comments came as Under Secretary of State William J. Burns held talks with Russian officials in Moscow.

Burns suggested that the administration was ready to reconsider plans for a missile defence system in Europe to take into account Russian concerns.

He said the US is “open to the possibility of cooperation, both with Russia and NATO partners, in relation to a new configuration for missile defence which would use the resources that each of us have”.

Russia’s foreign minister reiterated Wednesday that Moscow would be forced to deploy missiles on the European border if US missile defence components were deployed in Eastern Europe.

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